Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe has denied paying Sunday Word journalists to withhold publishing an article about his sex life. The newspaper on Sunday published a response from Mantashe, claiming that he declined to answer their questions about a love triangle story involving him, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and Lerato Habiba Makgatho.According to the response the paper published, he said he begged two journalists not to publish the story and paid them R70 000. He, however, would not reveal their names and said the publication could go ahead and write the story as that was his comment.On Tuesday morning, Mantashe denied the claims. "This past weekend, following a Sunday World report, various statements have been made about alleged bribery of journalists by Mr Mantashe, who is also the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy," a statement issued by Moferefere Lekorotsoana, chief of staff in the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy, reads. "The statement attributed to him seems to have created an impression of him being involved in the act of bribery. Mr Mantashe is clear that none of the sort occurred."Further, attested to by the newspaper, there was no verification of these allegations prior to the publication of the story."Mr Mantashe, both in his personal capacity and that of being the executive authority, believes in upholding the integrity of the media; and media freedom," Lekorotsoana said. READ | Sanef shocked by allegations Mantashe paid reporters for sex story to 'go away'The DA has asked Parliament's Joint Committee on Ethics and Members' Interests to probe conduct relating to Mantashe and claims that he bribed two journalists, News24 reported on Monday. The South African Editors' Forum also condemned the allegations, calling Mantashe's reported admission "brazen". The Tiso Blackstar Group, the previous publisher of Sunday World, on Sunday said it "noted with shock the alleged admission by a sitting government minister to have corruptly bribed two Sunday World journalists".Moshoeshoe Monare, deputy managing director: Tiso Blackstar Group, said: "Until June 21 this year, the company was the publisher and owner of the Sunday World. "These allegations were never brought to the attention of the company. The press code and the company's own editorial policy are opposed to any form of corrupt and unethical journalism. "It's a dismissible offence to accept money or any form of bribe to write or not to write a story."The Sunday World has since been purchased by Fundudzi Media, and all the employees of this title have been transferred to Fundudzi in terms of Section 197 of the Labour Relations Act. However, these allegations are deeply concerning and affect the integrity and credibility of the industry and the profession at large," Monare said.